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Law 792-A: Advanced Legal Research: Illinois: Class 8: Illinois Practitioner-Oriented Sources

This is guide to support an advanced legal research course which focuses on Illinois legal research.

Illinois Practice-Oriented Materials

In this class session, we will discuss specific (or advanced) type of secondary legal source: Illinois practitioner-oriented sources. 

In many ways, all secondary materials are practitioner-oriented in that they serve to help legal practitioners understand, evaluate, and interpret the law. This category, however, more explicitly moves beyond just those goals in order to help lawyers practice law with day-to-day and task-oriented guidance. 

While this group of materials can be quite varied, it includes forms, step-by-step guidance, checklists, sample pleadings, and all other materials that provide specific insight to the tasks associated with managing a specific legal claim.

Remember, the Illinois state pages in Westlaw Edge and Lexis Advance, in particular, have various links to Illinois secondary sources particular to practice areas.

Online Forms

Form books can be an excellent place to start when drafting pleadings. Some researchers prefer forms in print due to the easy browsing ability a book offers. The Law Library has many titles in print in the Illinois Alcove. There are also several other places to locate forms online.

While forms can offer a great jumping off point, it is important to remember two things when searching for forms. First, forms can be very general or very specific. This means that you may need to think both broadly or narrowly about what you want to find and be ready and willing to adapt forms to your needs.

Second, and building off the prior point, it is necessary to apply your own assessment to any form. It is not only bad form (pun intended) to use a form wholesale without thought, but it could also be malpractice. Always use forms as a base only, making sure to apply any necessary legal or practical components which may be required by the facts of the legal matter that you are addressing.

Print Forms

State of Illinois Forms

We discussed, in Class 2, the potential availability of forms through court and government resources. Always be sure to check whether a court, agency, or other government agency has a form for your topic. Remember that the forms may not be mandatory, but it is a good practice to at least be familiar with any supplied forms.

Illinois Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) Materials

Illinois Treatises

Treatise, is just a fancy legal word for "book." It can be a monograph (single volume) or a multi-volume set. Traditional treatises cover a topic start to finish. State-specific versions do this within the scope of the law for a given jurisdiction. In terms of practice-oriented materials, we will also look to items which may be referred to (or organized as) treatises, but which also function as handbooks and practical-guidance sources. 

Select Treatises Covering Specialized Topics in Illinois Law:

  • Parness, Illinois Civil Procedure Available on Lexis Advance and in print (KFI 1730 .P37) 
  • Ruebner, Illinois Criminal Procedure : Available on Lexis Advance and in print (KFI 1775 .I44)
  • Davis, Illinois Practice of Family Law : Available on Westlaw Edge
  • Gitlin, Gitlin on Divorce : Available on Lexis Advance and in print (KFI 1300 .G57)
  • Hunter, Trial Handbook for Illinois Lawyers (covers Civil, Criminal, Criminal Sentencing, and Homicide) : Available on Westlaw Edge and in print (various LC call numbers linked here). 
  • Illinois Practice Series (various topics) : Available on Westlaw Edge and in print (various LC call numbers linked here).
  • Polelle, Illinois Tort Law : Available on Lexis Advance and in print (KFI 1395 .P64) 
  • McElroy, Horner Probate Practice and Estates : Available on Westlaw Edge and in print (KFI 1344 .H67x)
  • Midwest Transaction Guide : Available on Lexis Advance (covers Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan)
  • Sautter, Employment in Illinois: A Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations, and Practices: Available on Lexis Advance and in print (KFI 1531 .S282)

Attorney Registration / Discipline / Ethics